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New Years Eve: Our House Party Cheat Sheet

It's late and you've got a kitchen full of friends and family, plus a few extras, time to put down the whiskey and coke, stop pouring the Tesco cava, and mix everyone up something proper.

Whether you’ve set your heart on hosting a Saturday Night Fever-themed New Year’s Eve or everyone inadvertently ends up back at yours at 4am this party season, we’ve got your drinking choices covered. Time to crack open the cupboards and make the most of those bottles.

You’ll hopefully have some ice and some sugar lying around as well – and if you mean business some triple sec or orange liqueur)

What to do with that…
… bottle of vodka

One word: Martinis. Empty a pitcher, a thermos, a vase – whatever you’ve got – fill it with ice and pour in five parts vodka to one part dry vermouth and get stirring. Like it dirty? Crack open the olive jar and pour some brine in. Like it wetter? Simply add more vermouth. Don’t have any vermouth? Guess what – you’re having a bone dry Martini. Maybe do it Churchill style and simply nod in the direction of France, but be warned... This is a boozy drink and after three your houseguests may need a helping hand to bed.

Looking for something a bit lighter to pair your vodka with? Try a fizz, with one and half parts vodka to one part liqueur or cordial (an elderflower one would go down a treat here if you’ve got it), a splash of lime juice and top the whole thing up with soda water – or fizzy wine – your choice.

Of course the real drink that’ll impress your guests is an Espresso Martini. And yes, you can use instant coffee for this, so get the kettle on. If you’ve got an espresso machine however that’s even better. Grab your shaker (or whatever you’re using to shake in, we’re defintiely not judging so long as it seals and is full of ice) and pour in two parts vodka to one part coffee and one part coffee liqueur (think Tia Maria, Kahlua or Mr Black) and a little splash of sugar syrup. If you’re not using fresh espresso you may not get that beautiful frothy head, but hey, it’s homemade and we all know it tastes delicious.

And if you’re still channelling your inner Carrie Bradshaw this festive season why not pop open the cranberry juice and fix up some Cosmopolitans? Put in one and half parts cranberry juice to one part vodka and one part triple sec and a squeeze of lime juice for brightness. Shake and serve.

… bottle of gin
Pray to the drinking gods you’ve got some Campari and sweet vermouth lying around and you’ve got yourself some Negronis. Equal parts for the gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, simply stir over ice and serve. As with the Martinis, you can make this classic cocktail in any size, batch or portion you fancy – just fill up a vase, a jug or a glass with ice and measure out how many drinks you’re making. Got some oranges too? Then garnish these babies with a zest if you’re feeling fancy or a wedge if not.

Got dry vermouth but no Campari? It's that word again: Martinis! See above and simply switch out the vodka for gin.

How about some gin sours? Our favourite at DrinkUp is the classic White Lady, which calls for two parts gin to one part triple sec and one part fresh lime juice. Stick in a splash of sugar syrup and an egg white (just do, don’t be silly – egg whites in pavlovas have never hurt anyone have they?) and shake up and bunch of these silky cocktails.

… bottle of tequila
Margaritas anyone? How about a Paloma? All you need to kick-start this party is a lot of citrus and a house guest that doesn’t mind squeezing it all. For Margaritas follow the easy recipe of two parts tequila to one part triple sec and one part fresh lime juice. Give it a good shake over ice and pour into whatever vessels are free. You can make large batches of this drink and actually spend some time socialising rather than shaking drinks in the kitchen too. If you haven’t got a shaker but do have a blender (NutriBullet or similar that works well with ice) you can make delicious frozen Margaritas and can even chuck in some fruit to flavour it!)

Palomas are even easier – two parts tequila to one part grapefruit juice, half that amount again of lime juice, a splash of sugar and top the drink up with soda – no shaking required. If you can get your hands on some grapefruit soda then that’s even better. Make these in the glass over ice and if you’re feeling fancy add a salt rim or a hunk of grapefruit for a social-media-worthy garnish.

… bottle of rum
Ever tried a rum old fashioned? Well now’s your chance. If you’ve got an aged rum – 3 years or older – then the easiest drink to make is this one. Grab a large vessel, or make them in the glass, and stir your rum over ice with a splash of sugar syrup and a dash of cocktail bitters if you’ve got them – Angostura will work best but orange is fine too.

Got a white rum? Then grab your shaker and pour it three parts rum to one part lime juice and one part sugar syrup. Shake over ice and you’ve got a classic Daiquiri. Throw in some sliced strawberries or banana to create a fruity version – or better yet try blending that stuff (along with ice) in your NutriBullet or whatever brand of smoothie maker you might have at home. Hellllooo Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri.

After something longer? Why not knock up some Dark N’ Stormys? You’ll need a rum, preferably aged, some fresh lime juice and ginger beer. Go for two parts rum to one part lime juice, over ice, and topped with the ginger beer.

… bottle of whiskey
Grab yourself a bottle of sweet vermouth and you’ve got the two key ingredients to a Manhattan. Even if it’s Scotch not bourbon, most whiskies will work in this recipe, you’ll just get a different flavour profile. Chuck in two and half parts whiskey to one part sweet vermouth and stir over ice. You can make pretty decent sized batches of this drink as well.

Of course the easiest whiskey drink to make is a classic Old Fashioned, just as with the rum, grab a large vessel, or make them in the glass, and stir your whiskey over ice with a splash of sugar syrup and a dash of cocktail bitters if you’ve got them – Angostura will work best but orange is fine too.

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